Il Museo dell’ Ara Pacis.
The smallest museum collection in the world may well be the one item “Ara Pacis Augustae”, exhibited in its dedicated building in Rome.
The Ara Pacis Augustae is an altar dedicated to Peace, the Roman goddess. The monument was commissioned by the Roman Senate on 4 July 13 B.C. to honour the return of Augustus to Rome. It was recovered by archaeologists in the late 1930s, and reconstructed on the current site, near the Mausoleum of Augustus, where the architect Vittorio Morpurgo was commissioned by Mussolini to design the altar’s first “housing” in order to celebrate a political vision.
In 2006, the new cover building, designed by the American architect Richard Meier, replaced the previous one. The museum is part of the City of Rome administration and subject to such amazing political interferences that the future of the new building is still in question.
The glass building enables a remarkable view of the altar in natural light as well as its spectacular view, from the outside, at night.
The museum exhibition is supplemented by several panels with educational material and a multimedia room.
In conclusion, the museum offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience in splendid isolation a two thousand year old monumental religious artifact. The Roman archeological context – a world heritage – is greatly enhanced by this contribution.